The Monday Tilley Watch, the New Yorker Issue of September 10, 2018; Cartoon Happenings At The New Yorker Festival

 “The Style Issue”  with a Kadir Nelson cover — the second Nelson cover in three weeks. It’s titled “Savoring Summer” (and again, I question why the New Yorker‘s covers need to be titled. Shouldn’t covers speak for themselves, so to speak? This cover certainly does). 

The cartoons:

Thinking there’d be a bevy of cartoonists in this mid-September issue (last week’s issue had fourteen), it was a surprise finding nine single panel cartoons this week (there’s a multi-panel “Sketchbook” by Roz Chast).  

Lately the Monday Tilley Watch has moved away from looking at every cartoon in each issue, but that doesn’t mean each and every cartoon in each and every issue doesn’t receive my undivided attention. Often I look at a cartoon like I eat popcorn.  But sometimes I linger on a particular drawing, savoring the art, or the caption (if there is a caption); in the best of times, I linger because I’m happy to be looking at something that works, that really works.  Other times I linger out of puzzlement — wondering what I’ve missed about the drawing — how, to my eyes, it went awry (or how my cultural antenna have failed me). It is far more exciting to come across a drawing that soars than one that fails.  Take for instance Joe Dator’s three part Beauty and the Beast cartoon in this new issue. I believe the drawing hits the high bar.  It’s drawn well (it reminds me of Lee Lorenz’s confident energetic art), and it measures up to Peter Arno’s characterization of a good cartoon, landing a one-two punch. A Spill round of applause is in order.

Some impressions from the issue:  Frank Cotham’s cartoon — it leads off the issue, sitting in a good-sized space following the Table Of Contents.  I mentioned Mr. Lorenz’s confident drawing; in Mr. Cotham’s quarter century of contributing to the New Yorker, he’s shown no fear in taking on the big picture, and handling it well. Alex Gregory’s line (his drawing is on p.93) is always a welcome sight.  Ed Steed’s bee-hive wielding doctor drawing (p.55) seems like a follow-up to Zach Kanin’s memorable “I can feel the baby kicking” cartoon from 2008.

The Caption Contest:

Cartoon caption contest drawings aren’t mentioned here much, but I did note that Mick Stevens’ drawing this week echoes one of mine (captioned as you see) published in The New Yorker, August 23, 1982.

Finally, let us not forget Rea Irvin’s missing classic Talk Of The Town masthead. I sometimes picture it propped up in a closest someplace in the magazine’s offices, waiting to be rediscovered and returned to its proper place. Until that time, if it ever comes, here it is:

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Cartoon Happenings at The New Yorker Festival

Held October 5, 6, and 7th. So far, here’s what’s up at the festival, cartoon-wise:

Saturday, the 6th: Sh!t Show: A Parenting Comedy Revue (with, among others, Emily Flake, and Roz Chast).

Sunday, the 7th: Cartoons & Coffee (with Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell and Farley Katz)

Here’s the homepage for the Festival

 

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue of August 27th, 2018

  Kadir Nelson‘s cover (a tribute to Aretha Franklin) was posted last week.  Not mentioned here at the time (but noted on the New Yorker‘s Table of Contents): the image was inspired by Charles W. White’s Folksinger. 

The new issue’s “Fall Preview” accounts for the abundance of arts ads and illustrations. 

The cartoons:

Now we’re talkin’: sixteen cartoons in this issue vs last week’s nine.  A number of the sixteen cartoons stand out for various reasons. Two of them (I won’t single them out) are beyond me. Not long ago I would’ve emailed Jack Ziegler to explain them to me. It was always comforting when Jack didn’t understand a drawing either. Often he’d respond with a variation of, “I don’t know what the hell it means.”

 Now for some others that stood out (these I understand): Seth Fleishman‘s mirror ball drawing cements his reputation as the New Yorker‘s mirror ball guy. Funny drawing. Also very funny: Joe Dator‘s “hunny” sniffing Pooh airport scenario. And then there’s David Borchart‘s sea-faring koala drawing. Oh my my my. I mentioned Jack Ziegler before. I think Jack would’ve loved these drawings — they’re wonderfully in his ballpark of way-out-there. A Spill round of applause.

A thought here about the placement of every cartoon in the issue: none seemed pressed for space, in need of breathing room. Victoria Roberts doctor’s office drawing (p.69) and Ellis Rosen‘s (p.42) are good examples. The reader can really enjoy the fine drawing going on in these pieces (and in others).

This issue includes the debut New Yorker cartoon by Caitlin Cass. Ms. Cass is the seventeenth new cartoonist brought in since cartoon editor, Emma Allen was appointed in the Spring of 2017. Ms. Cass’s style — mostly the way she handles faces — reminds me of a New Yorker cover artist from the Golden Age: Christina Malman.  Oddly enough, while looking through Ms. Malman’s twenty-four covers for the magazine I came across one (shown below) thematically linked to Ms. Cass’s drawing of children looking at art in a museum.

A final thought before Rea Irvin’s classic missing masthead shows up at the end of this post: I’m wondering if Emma Hunsinger‘s funny caption for her drawing on page 77 would’ve also worked if the word “aren’t” was “are”…and if that’s so — if it’s so how often it happens in cartoon captions that a word completely flipped can still work with the drawing. In this case, substituting “are” for “aren’t” would radically change the intent. Ms. Hunsinger’s use of the word “aren’t” suggests the parents are concerned their child’s behavior is unusual. By using “are” the parents would instead be hopeful that their child’s behavior might make for a viral video.

For the record, here is the list of cartoonists in this issue:

And now, as promised, the missing Irvin masthead.

 — See you next week

 

 

 

Fave Photo of the Day: Cartoonists Celebrate Sam Gross’s Birthday; Early Release: Next Week’s New Yorker Cover; Cartoon Companion Dissects the Very Latest New Yorker Cartoons

Fave Photo of the Day: Cartoonists Celebrate Sam Gross’s Birthday

Cartoonists gathered on Manhattan’s upper east side on Thursday to celebrate Cartoon God, Sam Gross, who turned 85 on August 7th.  Clockwise from the lower left: Robert Leighton, Bob Eckstein, Maria Scrivan, Nick Downes, Marisa Acocella, Sam Gross, Roz Chast, and Tracey Berglund. 

–photo courtesy of Bob Eckstein

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Early Release: Next Week’s New Yorker Cover

Read what Kadir Nelson, the cover artist for next week’s issue, had to say about his Aretha Franklin tribute.

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Cartoon Companion Dissects the Very Latest New Yorker Cartoons

The CC boys are back with their ratings for this week’s cartoons (the issue of August 20th).  Julia Suits was awarded the CC‘s Top Toon ribbon. Read it all here!

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of October 2, 2017

The Monday Tilley Watch is a meandering take on the cartoons in the current issue of The New Yorker.

October already? Well yes — that’s the way it is on magazine covers.  Always one week ahead of reality (or if it’s a monthly, one month ahead of reality). The cover of this weeks issue, graphically speaking, reminded me of Gretchen Dow Simpson’s work (she did 58 covers for the New Yorker ). A number of Ms. Simpson’s  covers involved stairs, and all the wonderful shadows and angles associated with stairs. She did one New York City stoop cover as well (it was this cover that came to mind when I first saw the latest one by Kadir Nelson. Like Mr. Nelson’s,  Ms. Simpson’s cover has a somber cast of its own. 

I note while zooming though the Goings On About Town the ad for Spielberg (“Direct From the Heart”) — he looks a little like John Lennon there, specifically the photo of Mr. Lennon taken outside Mr. Lennon’s New York City Bank Street address.

Spielberg and Mr. Lennon (with stethoscope):

Okay, now in to the issue and onto the cartoons. The first, on page 20, is by Barbara Smaller, who began contributing to the New Yorker in 1996.  An excellent sizing of Ms. Smaller’s drawing — we can really see her work here. It’s funny, but with this kind of space, her work makes me think somewhat of the late great Robert Weber’s. Perhaps it’s the caption, or tone of the caption — very Webery (Webbery?). Google search Robert Weber New Yorker images and you’ll get an eyeful. I’d direct you to a Weber collection but, sigh, there never was one (some day I hope!).   

Four pages later is a mob drawing by relative newbie, Christian Lowe (first New Yorker appearance: February 2016).  Again, nice placement on the page. The caption forced me to visualize cinematic baseball bat moments involving mobsters.  Did Robert De Niro’s  Al Capone do a bat flip in that memorable scene from The Untouchables?  Nope. 

Four pages later a rapunzel drawing by J.A.K. (Jason Adam Katzenstein).  Mr. Katzenstein (first New Yorker drawing: 2014) manages, in a two-part drawing no less, and using barely any of Rapunzel’s tower or hair, to succinctly convey an idea. Most cartoonists would show the whole tower and all the hair, as well as the sun, and Icarus. In this case, not necessary. J.A.K.’s drawing is immediately followed by a two page color spread by Roz Chast (her work began appearing in the magazine in 1978). An incident taken from a day in Ms. Chast’s life, involving a knife.  Three pages later a  drawing by  — I believe! — a brand new newbie, Jon Adams.  The drawing features a burning bed that is in no way connected to the 1984 Farrah Fawcett film, The Burning Bed.  

Two pages later, an Avi Steinberg drawing set in one of a cartoonist’s best friend scenarios: the doctor’s office.  I toyed with the idea that the caption should read “Just as I suspected. This thing makes everything louder” instead of the published “Just as I suspected. These things make everything louder” —  it’s the kind of brow furrowing decision-making that makes this cartoon biz so darn demanding.

Four pages later, the distinctive work of Lars Kenseth (first New Yorker cartoon: 2016).  Sharks! I wish we could see a Kenseth shark some day.  In this case the fins suffice. The fellow in the foreground is holding a small piece of wood.  I appreciate the care Mr. Kenseth has taken drawing that little piece of wood — the detail makes me laugh. 

After another four pages is a well placed Paul Noth drawing incorporating a wee bit of color.  Mr. Noth’s first drawing appeared in The New Yorker in 2004.  Like Mr. Steinberg’s doctor’s office, the wise man on the mountaintop is also a favorite of New Yorker cartoonists (I’ve done a number of both, and will continue to do more — they’re like potato chips: you can’t stop at one, or even a dozen).  On the very next page is a Farley Katz drawing.  Mr. Katz, like Mr. Kenseth, has a truly distinctive style.  You know it’s his work before you’ve had time to even wonder whose work it is (if that makes sense). There are certain cartoonists whose every drawing is akin to coming upon a blind curve — you have absolutely no idea what you are about to see. This is a very very good thing. In this latest drawing, there’s shopping action that (for me anyway) recalls the game show Supermarket Sweep. Again, Mr. Katz does not fail to deliver something unusual. 

A Tom Chitty drawing follows Mr. Katz. Talk about your distinctive styling. This is a three parter, with the third part using a party punch bowl, something not seen in New Yorker cartoons very often. If there’s been a punch bowl in recent times, I can’t recall it. Please correct me if I’m mistaken. The first Chitty New Yorker drawing appeared in 2014.  Three pages later, Emily Flake mashes pirates with ‘splaining. I’m curious as to where this  pirate get-together takes place. It looks kind of like a lodge, or a finished basement.  Ms. Flake’s first New Yorker cartoon appeared in 2008. On the very next page is a BEK (Bruce Eric Kaplan) drawing.  Another distinctive stylist with the added bonus of some of the best written captions the magazine publishes. They just flow.  Mr. Kaplan’s first New Yorker cartoon appeared in 1991. 

Eight pages later, the final drawing of the issue (not counting the Caption Contest drawings) and it’s by newbie, Teresa Burns Parkhurst. Technically not Ms. Parkhurst’s first appearance in the magazine — she was part of last week’s caption contest.  Another cartoonist’s chestnut scenario: the boardroom.  This time the focus is on the always awkward situation of whether or not to tell someone they’ve some foreign body (food, usually) stuck on their face. 

And that is that. See you next Monday.